artNotes from Hyde House: The wondrous sights and sounds of artCamp

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A school of glistening watercolor koi created in COLORED TISSUE PAINTING and COLLAGE with Tom Jones.

Two weeks after artCamp’s ending, the artfully wondrous sights and sounds of artCamp are still dancing in my heart and head—a school of glistening watercolor koi swimming on sheets of paper spread out and left to dry in the sun on the patio beneath my office window; a kiln stuffed full of clay animal mugs, pinch pot musical instruments and birdhouses waiting to be fired; artCampers at lunch decorating the driveway with chalk drawings while vigorous games of kick ball and swing-the-statue happened all around them with laughter, laughter, laughter everywhere. Oh, what wondrous sights and sounds I still have to keep and savor.

“Alice Lynn, Alice Lynn, Come see! Come see!” I heard someone calling up the stairs, “We have a photo op for you!” Down I went! There they sat. A cheery, colorful collection lined up in rows on the shelves of the Chandelier Gallery—Pillow Pets lovingly imagined and drawn and painted, stitched and stuffed and ready for cuddling. The artCampers in instructor Alexandra Burnside’s class had been busy!

For ten days “Come see! Come see!” rang out again and again from artCamp’s classrooms where artCamp’s amazing teachers taught and inspired and encouraged the hands and the minds and the spirits of seventy (yes, seventy!) artCampers—artCampers who came eager to learn and explore as they made art and friends in forty unique classes.

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For lending their highly trained and well-cultivated super powers to the making of artCamp’s magic, I send out kudos galore to instructors Alexandra Burnside, April Davis-Brunner, Cheryl Church, Teri Y. Diggs, Jane McCaulley, Anne-Marie Gailey, Tom Jones and Sarah Serio. Watching these wizards at work gives my heart cause to sing!

I am deeply grateful for our dedicated teachers and for all nine artCamp interns, as well. They showed up day after day with energy to match their smiles as they pitched in to sustain artCamp’s creative tempo. With sincere appreciation I say “thank you!” to artCamp’s Interns: Jackie Boyer, Aurelia Burr, Maddie Capps, Betsy Flanigan, Jalayne Osborn, Mary Riley, Miki Smith, Bev Sturgis and Shannon Wedge. They tidied and set up classrooms. They greeted and registered artCampers. They companioned first time campers. They shared play time oversight. They supported the teachers and they helped me consistently, unselfishly. They were my artCamp angels and always seemed to be at my side just when I needed them most.

When I was working days and evenings, too, to stay up to speed with my director’s duties and simultaneously trying to keep up with artCamp’s photographic documentation, Aurelia Burr came to my rescue and began answering those “Come see! Come see!” calls for important photo ops. Knowing her way around a cell phone and a camera, Aurelia became our official artCamp photographer collecting and editing images and transmitting them to me for posting in our Facebook photo albums. Thanks to Aurelia we have a spectacular memory bank for sharing!

In our photo memory bank are many, many smiling images of a cadre of Interns-in-Training who cheerfully gave of their free summer days to learn the tasks and skills of Interns as they gained in-class experience. With great pleasure I think of these Interns-in-Training as artCamp’s eleven-ever-ready wonders: Sydney Campbell, Gabby Cook, Lola Chapman, Brady Cloud, Justice Cunningham, Sara Eddington, Addison Nichols, Karlie Nichols, Olivia Pierce, Abby Rogers and Anna Wheeler.

Fabric animals and imaginary creatures created in PILLOW PETS with Alexandra Burnside.

With special attention from interns Aurelia Burr, Maddie Capps and Miki Smith who put together the installation, the artCamp Exhibition overflowed with two weeks of thoughtfully displayed creations. On a warm summer evening the wrap-up Reception was a remarkable Hyde House celebration. The artCampers attending showed off their art and their classrooms to their families and their friends as everyone sampled the chocolate infused array of artCamper donated cookies, gourmet mini-cupcakes created by artCamper Arya Palmer and a special artCamp cake baked and decorated by artCamper Mia Miles.

While watching the artCampers chatting as they stayed close to the refreshment table where I served up cup after cup of lemonade, I was reminded of similar sights I saw at the art gallery receptions I once attended in New York City. The well-known secret then was that no artist need ever starve, if they were resourceful enough to move through Soho or Chelsea in progressive-dining-mode and graze through the abundance of food and beverage piled on tables at both large and modest venues alike. Even the youngest of our artCamp artists seem to share this instinct. I have good faith they will become the art-makers and shakers of the art scenes of our tomorrows.

As my husband, David, likes to say, “You don’t have to be constantly creating works of art to live an artistic lifestyle.” This is just one of the many lessons our young artCamp protégés are learning as we teach them a smattering of French-on-the-porch along with the tools and skills and curiosities they’ll need to make magic of the creative lives they’ll be living full of artfully wondrous sights and sounds to savor.

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